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from Photographers' Blog:

In too deep

Fox Lake, Illinois

By Jim Young

Heavy rains brought flooding to the Chicago area this week. Though most people were already starting the clean-up process, there was still some flooding just north of the city.

I headed up to see how they were coping since the Fox River had yet to crest. As I pulled into town, most of the area looked fairly dry but once you got closer to the lake, some of the streets were several feet under water. As I came around a corner, I could see an American flag hanging over a half-sunken retro soda machine sitting in what looked like a lake, but it was actually someone’s backyard.

The family seemed unusually calm about their circumstances. Though they had been stuck in the same flooded state for four days with more rain on the way, they had several layers of sandbags around their house and a couple of pumps going at full speed. They were just trying to hang in there and hope for the best.

The water level in the next area of town was a couple feet deeper. I put on my chest waders, grabbed one camera and a lens and slowly trudged through the water. Each step I took, the water seemed to creep higher and higher. One, two, three feet, and all the way up to my chest. I was not sure what I was walking on but it was definitely not a road and the water was too deep and murky to tell where I was going as my feet started slowly sinking into the mud. Making my way back down the street, I could see an orange object bobbing in the water. Someone had used a glove as a kind of “marker” by tying a rope to the end of it.

from Photographers' Blog:

Politics aside, along the border

California, along the U.S./Mexico border

By Mike Blake

A while back I had stopped at a cafe near San Ysidro, which is about as south as you can get in California before stepping into Mexico. I was walking out the door when I spotted three guys rolling up on ATV bikes dressed like they had just come out from one of my son’s Xbox games.

They were U.S. Border Patrol, grabbing a coffee, on a break from the dust of their patrols. I said to myself "Okay, I have to come back here and look into what these guys do."

from Global Investing:

Emerging markets’ export problem

Taiwan's forecast-beating export data today came as a pleasant surprise amid the general emerging markets economic gloom.  In a raft of developing countries, from South Korea to Brazil, from Malaysia to the Czech Republic, export data has disappointed. HSBC's monthly PMI index showed this month that recovery remains subdued.

With Europe still in the doldrums, this is not totally unsurprising. But economists are growing increasingly concerned because the lack of export growth coindides with a nascent U.S. recovery. Clearly EM is failing to ride the US coattails.

from Photographers' Blog:

Extreme tough guys

Everton, England

By Nigel Roddis

With heavy snow and the threat of flooding, conditions were never going to be pleasant for the Tough Guy Challenge on the so-called killing fields of Perton, central England. Five thousand competitors push themselves each year in this charity obstacle race held on a 600-acre farm since 1987.

The mud was deep and the car park, as I would later learn, was treacherous. I waded through the mud with my cameras taped up inside carrier bags and was out of breath before the races even started, though I was only taking the photographs. Having already covered the event three times, I knew that the competitors tend to start the day on a high; singing and dancing like they’re off for a stroll in the park. Even after the canon sounded and they hurtled down the hill to start the 15 km race packed with over 20 obstacles, they seemed unaware that over a third of them wouldn’t finish.

from Photographers' Blog:

Inside my London 2012 camera bag

By Tim Wimborne

A couple of weeks back I was listening to a radio station when a school teacher rang in to share her story of being tasked back in the early 1980s with leading a new subject called Leisure Studies. The pretext for this cutting edge course was that imminent computer technology meant the 25 hour work week was inevitable and a bounty of recreation time assured. Of course we’re all experts in how this flash of history unfolded.

Not too long after this, about the time my career as a photographer began, this misjudgement was mirrored when society’s zeitgeist shamans and marketing gurus told us the great leap forward into digital photography and associated new technologies would revolutionize our working day. It did of course. Just not in the way most ‘experts’ foresaw. Instead of the time spent hunched over enlargers etc. the main result is a dramatic increase in productivity. Where once a pocket full of batteries was all that was needed to power all equipment I might carry on even an extended assignment I now take with me a small shop's worth of cables and adapters, chargers, hard drives and power supplies, audio and video devices and of course an ever larger range of batteries.

from Photographers' Blog:

Robo-cams take an Olympic dive

By Wolfgang Rattay

Reuters robotic cameras will not only be hung high up at the Olympics venues but will also go underwater.

We have developed a remote-controlled "underwater photographer" that can hold its breath for the duration of the Olympic Aquatic competitions at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

from Photographers' Blog:

Robo-cams go for Olympic gold

By Fabrizio Bensch

Is it possible to get 11 photographers into a box and put them in a position where you could never place a photographer? Normally, it would be absolutely impossible. But nothing is impossible when it comes to the Olympic games.

The London Olympic summer games will produce huge emotions, records and we as the Reuters photographers team will catch it from any extraordinary angle. When athletes from around the world compete against each other for the glory of an Olympic medal, hundreds of photographers try to capture the one and only moment which makes the Olympic games so unique.

from Photographers' Blog:

Back in the nuclear zone

Fukushima prefecture’s Kawauchi residents who evacuated from their village near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were allowed to return home briefly last Tuesday to pick up personal belongings. This was the first government-led operation for the evacuees.

Kawauchi village is one of the cities, towns and villages designated by the government in late April as a legally binding no-entry zone within a 20km (12 miles) radius of the plant.

from India Insight:

Indian Army Day: Road to reform?

INDIA

January 15 is celebrated as India's Army Day each year. Sixty-two years ago on this day, the first Indian officer took over as Commander–in–Chief of the army.

Lately, the Indian army has been under constant scrutiny. From modernization of equipment to the moral character of the organisation, many believe the army is facing too many problems at the same time.

from UK News:

Do UK troops in Afghanistan have the right back up?

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth came under criticism on Monday over a shortage of military equipment in Afghanistan, where 15 British soldiers have been killed in the past two weeks.

The deaths highlight the shortage of helicopters, especially Chinooks, which can carry large numbers of troops and equipment over long distances, say the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

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